I’ve battled depression for most of my adult life. I don’t discuss it much but when I do, like now, it’s to encourage someone suffering from depression. The response is usually one of surprise, like “You seem so energetic and positive!”
“That’s my nature,” I respond. “And I have to fight for it everyday.”
My most debilitating bout with depression was in my 20s, but I’ve been managing the aftershocks of depression for 20 years. Intrusive thoughts, mental dullness, self-directed anger and days of sadness still pass through like unwanted freight trains at a crossing when you have somewhere to go.
The big “D” doesn’t rule my life anymore, but it sits right under the surface like vermin watching the action above ground from a sewer drain. It lurks at street level in line with the lowest vantage point as I walk above, seeing the sun and breathing cleaner air, being very careful not to fall into a hole and meet up with it. Oddly, it has brought tremendous meaning to my life as I have learned how to be very conscious of my thoughts and choose them differently, if need be. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is that just because I think it, doesn’t mean I have to believe it. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that captured my motto: “Don’t believe everything you think.”
The Buddha said that all suffering is due to attachment. It is the mind that causes attachment. It is the mind that concocts an ironclad argument about how we are right or how we’ve been wronged or about how the world operates and it is such that creates the cell that isolates us. We have made up our mind or it has been made up for us. The good news is that we can change it. We can be re-minded. And to heal our perception is to give birth to freedom and meaning.
by Laura Berman